Home, Such a Funny Word

“Welcome home!”

“It must feel so good to be home.”

“Has it been nice to be home?”

These are the questions I have been answering from well-meaning people since I arrived back in the US for my year HMA in May. None of the people asking the question said anything wrong, but it caused some interesting thoughts to run through my mind.

“Is this home?”

“What makes a place home?”

“If this is home, does that mean where I live in Germany is temporary?”

“If this is home, why do I keep forgetting how things work here?”

You see, the difficulty for me is that, while I grew up in Toledo, I’ve also made a home for myself for 7 years in Maryland and now for 5 years in Germany. Does that make Toledo any less of my home?

Right now it feels like I have two homes, but on occasion it makes me feel like I am not genuine when I call one place home and not the other. What’s kind of strange is wherever I am at the time, I tend to call the other place home just as much as the place I am currently living. Weird, right? Welcome to my brain.

So, why do I write this? Why am I spending time explaining how home is a weird word and a weird idea to me right now? Well, because its something that I’ve been trying to figure out for myself and I know there are many other people who feel the same way. They are torn between two places.

Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying being “home” in the US, but at the same time there are things I miss about my German “home.” When I’m in Germany I will miss things about my US “home” while loving things in my German “home.”

As an uncle, a brother, a son, and a friend, my heart is often where I am not, so maybe the saying “home is where the heart is” is pretty accurate. If that is true, then welcome me (and anyone else who returns) home wherever I see you, but please remember that my home and heart lies elsewhere as well and that can cause some feelings of displacement.